Mar 20, 2012

More than 2 million people suffer of water shortages at least one month per year

About 2.700 million people suffer from “water scarcity at least one month each year” due to increased population pressure and economic activities have on the resource, according to the NGO, The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

The analysis entitled, “Global Water Shortage monthly: traces of blue against blue water availability,” says many of the watershedsare in danger and there is a serious depletion of the liquid.

Measurements were made on the variability of water flows in 405 watersheds in the world between 1996 and 2005, and concluded that 201 of them “go through a severe shortage of water for at least one month of the year.”

“In places with several months of water shortage is likely to be serious competition for water in dry season and there will be economic impacts on agriculture, electricity and other industries,” he said in a statement Brian Richter, director of global freshwater program of TNC, one of six researchers behind the study.

The selected areas account for 69% of global water flows, 75% of global irrigated areas and 65% of the population of the planet.

In 223 of the 405 watersheds studied (55% of total) “water consumed exceeds the net water availability for at least one month a year” and in 35 of them inhabited by 483 million people, the liquid failed “to least six months.”

The lack of water basins

The most populous basin cyclic water deficit throughout the year is to Yonding He, in northern China, which supplies fluid to Beijing. This area covers 214.000 square kilometers. Their population has a density of 425 persons per km.

Other basins with water stress are the San Antonio River in Texas (USA) and Groot-Kei River in South Africa, both for eleven months, while in the Penner river in southern India and the Tarim In China, where there are nine months of famine.

Eight months of water stress is in the river Indus, from which 212 million people depend, and the Cauvery, both in India.

So long are the gaps in the Black Sea basin, which includes the Jordan River and covers several Middle Eastern countries, and the Salinas River, California (USA).

Status of the Rio Grande in Mexico

In the Rio Grande: “suffers severe water shortage for seven months” and on that channel, due to the high concentration of pollutants, there have been fish kills.

Furthermore, the high salinity levels have caused 32 fish species have been displaced in an area where economic losses from water shortages are charged 4,000 jobs per year and cost $135 million each year.

The experts recalled that 94% of the water impact of humanity is related to agriculture, for irrigation uses four times more land than cities.

However, cities use more water than the farmers on the basis of area occupied by the basins analyzed.

The future of water

In the future, “continued growth in water consumption due to increased population, changes in eating patterns (more meat intake) and the growing demand for biofuels, combined with the effects of climate change (…) it is likely that increased water shortages in many rivers and watersheds in the coming decades,” warns the text.

The study was sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF initials in English), TNC, the Water Footprint Network, National Geographic Society and the University of Twente and can be accessed at

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